Each month, the Far Far Away Radio blog will present a critical analysis of the stars of Star Wars: Episode VII and their beards. Here at Far Far Away Radio, we believe it is our responsibility to not just inform and entertain, but to do so thoroughly and reasonably. Thus, we proudly present A Beard Feeling About This (hairstyles above the ears do not apply).
Last time, we not only got our first hearty look at Mark Hamill’s beard, but, because the beard was prominently featured in Hamill’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video, we got to see it move. But now, after several new pictures of Mark Hamill with Carrie Fisher were released, we get to see his beard glow. (Strangely enough, we also get to see it socialize. More on that later.) In our previous installment, we discussed Hamill’s beard’s fullness, its colors, the effects it has on other parts of his face, and, perhaps the most peculiar trait of all, its waterproofness. This time, we’ll follow a similar structure, dissecting its density, its stoicism, the absence of mouth (it’ll make sense once we get there), and its social functions.
(Quick side note: the pictures are from a gala for the Midnight Mission, an excellent charity organization that deals with homelessness and addiction, two serious issues that are often directly and tragically related. Consider checking them out if you want to support a great organization!)
When we order a root beer float, as many of us have, we are often given two utensils: a spoon and a straw (is a straw a utensil? It’s one of the great philosophical questions of our time, and Confucius himself died wondering the same thing). We tend to go straight for the spoon first, eating the thick layer of ice cream, before it melts into a sweet liquid, which we slurp with the straw. We never go for the straw first, but we’ve all had that juvenile, asinine moment where we stab that floating scoop of vanilla ice cream with that wimpy straw, only to find out how difficult it is to not only eat the ice cream, but to reach the root beer beneath it.
Now, think of Mark Hamill’s flesh as the root beer, and his beard as the ice cream. Imagine shoving a straw into Hamill’s beard, aiming for flesh. It wouldn’t happen. It wouldn’t work out. The beard is much too thick at this point in its development.
We expected early on that Hamill would be sporting a “Jedi beard” (an interesting term, since that isn’t necessarily a defining feature of Jedi aside from Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn), but no one - and I mean no one - expected the beard to be as long, sturdy, and noble as it was on the fateful night of the Midnight Missions gala. The beard, structured like an ancient obelisk of dreadful might, makes Hamill appear a foot taller and a century wiser. This leads me to one solid bit of speculation, which jives with recent rumor reports: this is the beard of a man who intentionally grew it out, not one who was forced to “let it go,” per se, due to lack of access to shaving razors.
Luke Skywalker must have grown the beard because he wants others to perceive him as wise, balanced, powerful; save for a few stray hairs, the beard exudes all of these qualities in an exponential manner. I might note that I am referring to Luke Skywalker here, not Mark Hamill; that cat shirt tucked into high-waisted dress pants isn’t exactly exuding wisdom, balance, and power.
The Absent Mouth
We all thought it: Where is that mouth?! If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get a little personal here. I have a serious pet peeve when it comes to beards. Some people don’t understand the importance of trimming around the mouth. When my friends grow beards, a decision I tend to discourage depending on the friend, they let those thick little mustache hairs creep over the lip, invading their drinks, soup, root beer floats, whatever sticky substance they might be eating.
But once that mustache gets out of control, it hides the entire mouth with one large curl. While none of my friends ever reached that point, Hamill certainly has. It makes him look like Papa Hemingway, or a wise old fisherman, or maybe even an old timey union man with many clocks and a wife who collects ceramic dolls. When he smiles, as pictured above, his face swirls into a mess of hair, and he becomes a man you simply just want to hug until it’s all okay.
The Social Beard
There is one final facet of Mark Hamill’s beard must be examined before we start inching toward what some might perceive as extraneous. Hamill’s beard has a very social quality to it. As stated earlier, the mustache portion makes him seem huggable, but now, thanks to these pictures, we have concrete evidence of how much this beard is complementing Hamill’s social nature.
In the first picture, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are leaned in for a picture, but the beard is shockingly close to Fisher’s face; not only must she have joyfully grazed the prickles with her cheek, but she can probably smell the beard quite well from that distance. In another picture, we have Mark Hamill speaking into a blue microphone (I’m not even going to start on how well that blue mic contrasts with the beard’s wise brown and gray). The microphone is much closer to his face than perhaps it would have been if Hamill was clean-shaven. Finally, in perhaps the most damning evidence of all, is the picture of Fisher tugging on Hamill’s beard like a dog toy. The beard is undeniably playful, and it undoubtedly provides anyone within a close proximity with a energetic, child-like sense of joy and wonder.
After that ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, I thought that’d be all we’d hear from Mark Hamill’s beard for a while. I wasn’t expecting the beard to get bigger and better, and I think we can all agree, thanks to this entirely necessary analysis, that we can walk into Star Wars: Episode VII in December 2015 ready for Mark Hamill. And ready for his beard.